Government heavy handedness rings in a new year

Dennis Gosnell, Assignment Editor

This year the legislative powers that be have been busy trying to put extreme emergency measures of authority into the hands of a few.

If passed these powers grant the government the ability to take control of any and all systems of information or news, which could isolate people’s ability to gather news or information from outside the community.

Changing Legislation

The first piece of legislation to consider is the S. 1867 Department of Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, which went to the Senate floor Nov. 28.

The President, and those that serve under his authority, would gain the power to detain and imprison suspected terrorist indefinitely or until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

These people would be considered a threat to national security or the continuation of normal proceedings of daily life. The wording is full of loopholes though, as anyone displaying dissident or radical anti-government behavior, that protest against the government, or who acts against the government may come to be considered a threat to national security.

The limited wording of the bill does not guarantee safety though.  In one clause, a waiver can be filed so that anyone may be detained if determined a threat to National Security.  Such waivers would need to be approved first by Congress so that no unconstitutional arrest may occur.

Cyber-space beware

The second piece of legislation to consider is the Cybersecurity and Information Freedom Act of 2011 or CIFA. The Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs met May 23 to hold hearings regarding the bill.

CIFA outlines the government’s agenda regarding the improper use of the Internet by actions of individuals, whose aim is to disrupt normal procedures or take advantage of weak cyber security.

In short, the President can give administrative powers to a National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications (NCCC) department within the Department of Homeland Security. This power gives them, during a “Cyber Emergency”, the ability to shut down “covered critical infrastructures” that are prevalent to governmental operations.

According to the HSGAC, the NCCC will work with the private sector to establish risk-based security requirements that strengthen the cybersecurity for the nation’s most critical infrastructure.

These vital components are described as being the electric grid, telecommunications networks, and control systems in other critical infrastructure that, if disrupted, would result in a national or regional catastrophe.

And while the bill has not yet to be passed onto the Senate or House of Representatives, it is still in wait with no major decision having been reached about it’s contents or policies.

Is it the National Emergency Alert System or the Government Communications Shutdown System?

The subsequent administrative action to check up on is that of the National EAS or Emergency Alert System.

“The EAS is a national public warning system that requires broadcasters, cable television systems, wireless cable systems, satellite digital audio radio service (SDARS) providers, and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) providers to provide the communications capability to the President to address the American public during a national emergency.”  – Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau

If used improperly the government, with an application of the CIFA bill, could control the output of information and vital news.

The strategy implemented in pushing these bills through is reminiscent of the way in which Emperor Palpatine created his empire in the famous Star Wars movies.  For those who are not avid Star Wars fans, Emperor Palpatine created a war against a group of separatist who were supposedly a threat to Galactic peace.

The Emperor played each side against one another, in order to create outrageous emergency powers that allowed him to eventually take over the Galactic Senate.

Emperor Palpatine’s rise to power inspires Government politics?

For those who see a correlation here, it may be time to pick up the phone and call your Senators and Representatives.  The Internet group Anonymous has put out a call to all voters to ask for help in stopping these unconstitutional powers from being passed.

The information Anonymous provided was a little outdated however.  Be sure to research information thoroughly before heeding a call to action, so that the information that is gained is not wholly wrong or in some sense, a half-truth.

From the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC):

“The Act establishes the National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications (NCCC) at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to elevate and strengthen the Department’s cyber security capabilities and authorities. The NCCC will be led by a Senate-confirmed Director, who will report to the Secretary. The Director will regularly advise the President regarding the exercise of authorities relating to the security of federal networks. The NCCC will include the United States Computer Emergency Response Team (US-CERT), and will lead federal efforts to protect public and private sector cyber and communications networks. The NCCC will detect, prevent, analyze, and warn of cyber threats to these networks.”


  1. […] the end of last semester we published an article about legislation aimed at changing the fabric of the U.S. and the Internet. Why should the beginning of this year be any different? Legislators in the U.S. Capitol have once […]

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